About the Author: Robert Sauers serves with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan.
Second Vice President H.E. Abdul Karim Khalili and Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry joined a host of Afghan officials other international representatives assembled at the Second National Conference on Water Resources Development and Management of Afghanistan held at the Ministerial Palace on December 7 to celebrate progress made toward managing vital water resources in Afghanistan.
The goal of the conference was to foster collaboration among key organizations to address Afghanistan's water resource development and management challenges with the primary objectives of reducing poverty and improving public welfare.
Addressing more than 200 conference participants, 2nd Vice President Khalili said, "Afghanistan as a developing country needs energy and power. Fortunately, Afghanistan has great water resources that sometimes we can bring changes to the power of the country. We need a unified policy in consideration to the national policy of Afghanistan. I am hopeful that the Ministry of Power and Water can secure and protect the water resources of Afghanistan." Other conference keynote speakers included Acting Minister of Energy and Water Alhaj Mohammad Ismael Khan, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock Mohammad Asef Rahimi, and Ambassador Eikenberry.
The governments of Afghanistan and the United States both consider water a key priority to address essential basic human needs. Water is critical to Afghanistan's overall development, especially with respect to access to potable drinking water, increased agricultural production through more efficient and expanded irrigation, and domestic hydropower development.
"The hope of future generations depends, in part, on our ability to manage wisely precious and limited water resources, not just in Afghanistan, but worldwide," said Ambassador Eikenberry. "I am confident that developing and managing Afghanistan's scarce and valuable water resources will promote prosperity in Afghanistan, and greatly enhance peace and stability in the region."
The United States Agency for International Development helped facilitate the organization of the conference.